Home Business A vegan recipe for bolognese uses mushrooms for depth of flavor

A vegan recipe for bolognese uses mushrooms for depth of flavor

Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese

Active time:40 min

Total time:1 hour


Active time:40 min

Total time:1 hour



I’m not usually one for quotation marks in recipe names, especially when it comes to plant-based versions of meat-based dishes. You know, fried “chicken” sandwiches, when the “chicken” is actually an oyster mushroom. In my recipes for the new cookbook, I refer to the entire selection of pork-sweetened versions as “crispy” for this reason.

But sometimes you can’t help it, like when you’re cooking a sauce that’s famous for using multiple types of meat and a long process, and you’ve done neither of those things, and you still want it. reference and evoke feeling. You want to focus on the vegetables and get dinner on the table quickly.

This fantastic recipe from Ella Mills’ latest cookbook is a radical departure from the Italian classic ragù bologna. It comes together quickly enough for a weeknight and gets its deep flavor not from meat or time, but from a clever combination of umami-filled ingredients: two types of mushrooms, two forms of tomatoes, and soy sauce. To all Italian purists, I know what you’re thinking.

I wanted the ultimate bolognese. After six recipes, I came up with the best ragout of them all.

Here’s the thing: I don’t eat the meats in a traditional Bolognese anymore, but I still want something with the same vibe. So when I discovered the recipe in How to Go Plant-Based , I gave it a whirl and appreciated how dried porcini and crème fraîche combined with canned (or any pre-cooked) lentils gave me the same effect. I tossed the sauce with the pasta, twirled my fork, and let out an audible sigh of complete relief and satisfaction.

Mills uses the B word in his book without any justification, but I decided to treat it with old quotation marks. You can either do it if you want, or you can call it something else entirely – but whichever way you go, I hope you do. It’s that good.

Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese

The sauce, as shown here, is great over pasta, but you can also use it to top rice or other grains, or over baked white or sweet potatoes.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. The sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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  • 1 ¼ cups Small Vegetable Broth or store-bought low-sodium vegetable juice
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion (8 ounces), chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or light soy sauce
  • 2 cups of tomato puree
  • Two (15-ounce) cans green lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound dried whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound cream mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Pour the broth into a microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup and microwave for 1-2 minutes until warm. Add the dried mushrooms and soak for 10 minutes, then strain the stock through a fine sieve to catch any sand. Wash the mushrooms, squeeze out excess water and chop.

While the mushrooms are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour mushroom broth and chopped mushrooms, add tomato paste and tamari, mix. Bring to a boil, then add tomato puree and lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture thickens and the flavors meld.

While the lentil mixture is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, add a layer of mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned on one side, 1 minute. Flip the mushrooms and cook on the other side until lightly browned, 1 minute. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to the lentil mixture. Continue with remaining mushrooms, adding 1 teaspoon oil before frying each batch and adding more oil as needed.

Stir the parsley into the sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss until thoroughly coated and serve hot.

Per serving (1 1/3 cups pasta and 1 cup sauce)

Calories: 512; Total fat: 7 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; sodium: 445 mg; Carbohydrates: 96 g; Dietary fiber: 13 g; Sugar: 11 g; Protein: 27 g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or nutritionist.

adapted “How to Go Plant-Based” by Ella Mills (Mobius, 2022).

Tested by Joe Yonan; questions to email address voraciously@washpost.com.

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